20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, out now
Art teacher Joanna Beauchamp is an ageless mother trying to keep a supernatural secret from her daughters, Freya and Ingrid so they can lead a normal life. But when Joanna’s estranged sister arrives to warn her of an evil entity out to destroy them all, Joanna is forced to reveal the truth about her family’s magical legacy…
Yes, there’s a certain amount of the late lamented Charmed about Witches of East End, which probably flew beneath most people’s radar during its broadcast on Lifetime earlier in the year. There’s also a lot of the rather less lamented British witch drama Switch (I enjoyed it but I think I was one of the few who did!) with a less than totally serious treatment of the difficulties that witches would face in a 21st century society – this isn’t Bewitched, but it’s certainly not po-faced.
The show boasts a strong cast – Julia Ormond and Twin Peaks’ Madchen Amick are the stand-outs – and there are plenty of mysteries to be investigated, some of which get resolution quickly while others build (and even stretch into the second year). Yes, there are soap operas elements to it, but that’s the case in most genre dramas nowadays, and they’re never allowed to become overriding. It’s not a show that is ever likely to become appointment viewing, but one of those you catch up with when you have a chance – and then enjoy rather more than you’d expect.
The DVD extras are brief – the usual gag reels (including a cat reel!), and deleted scenes (some lost for time, others because, frankly, they’re crap) – but it’s the episodes themselves you’ll get the set for… and find it a sometimes hokey, but fun show.
Verdict: A light supernatural drama with some occasionally surprising twists. 7/10